Can You Give a Dog Children's Ibuprofen?

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: June 28, 2024
Can You Give a Dog Children's Ibuprofen?

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We cannot give children's ibuprofen for dogs. We should not give any medication to dogs without veterinary prescription. Some of us may think that children's ibuprofen is fine because the lower amount of active ingredient means it is suitable for animals that are smaller than us. This is not the case and ibuprofen is toxic to dogs. If we give it to them, it can cause ibuprofen toxicity in dogs, a potentially fatal condition.

Learn more about what to expect with AnimalWised when we ask can you give a dog children's ibuprofen?

  1. What is children's ibuprofen?
  2. Can children's ibuprofen be used in dogs?
  3. Side effects of children's ibuprofen for dogs
  4. What to do if my dog eats children's ibuprofen?
  5. How to prevent ibuprofen toxicity in dogs

What is children's ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a drug which may be used in combination with various other drugs. Also known as isobutylphenylpropionic acid, it is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is used to treat pain and inflammation. It is also an antipyretic, meaning it is used to treat mild fever.

Not all ibuprofen products are the same. They can be of different dosages and preparations. Sometimes ibuprofen is sold in combination with other drugs such as oxycodone. It can be sold in tablet, oral suspension or injectable form.

Children's ibuprofen is a type of ibuprofen which is sold for use in children. It does not contain any excipients which could be harmful for children and it is usually at a lower dosage. It is also sold in different preparations. It can be difficult to give young children tablets, so oral suspension is often used with added sweeteners to make it more palatable.

Can children's ibuprofen be used in dogs?

All guardians should work under the basic premise that we should never give any medication to our dog without prior consultation with a veterinarian. Even for drugs which are safe for use in dogs, giving them to a dog at the wrong time or for the wrong ailment can be very dangerous. Our veterinarian will assess all the appropriate factors and determine the most appropriate course of treatment.

Some people think that children's ibuprofen is fine for dogs because its lower amount of active ingredient lessens the risk of overdose. However, if you consult a veterinarian they will tell you never to give NSAIDs like ibuprofen to dogs. This is a drug which is toxic to dogs and can cause a serious reaction. Dogs do not have the enzymes required to metabolize ibuprofen safely. If enough ibuprofen is given to the dog, it can be fatal.

While you will still need to speak to a veterinarian, they will likely prescribe better alternatives to ibuprofen for dogs such as meloxicam, carprofen or firocoxib. These drugs are considered much safer and more effective for use in canine veterinary medicine.

Learn more with our article on the uses, dosage and side effects of carprofen for dogs.

Side effects of children's ibuprofen for dogs

Dogs are very sensitive to ibuprofen, much more so than people. Its use in this species must be avoided as it not a human drug you can give to dogs. Ibuprofen can cause serious gastrointestinal ulcers in dogs, even in small doses. Despite children's ibuprofen being weaker than that we give to adults, it is still sufficiently toxic to cause harm. This is especially the case with prolonged use.

Some of the side effects which may occur if a dog consumes children's ibuprofen can include the following:

  • Hypersalivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tar-like stools
  • Weakness
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

It should be noted that the dog's vomit may contain blood. A higher dose of ibuprofen causes kidney and liver failure, eventually sending the dog into a state of shock. Neurological disorders such as seizures and tremors in the dog are also likely to occur. If we see any symptom of ibuprofen intoxication in dogs, we need to seek immediate veterinary assistance.

What to do if my dog eats children's ibuprofen?

Whether you have accidentally administered children's ibuprofen to your dog or they have ingested it on their own, we need to be very careful with symptoms. There are various factors which will determine the dog's reaction. These include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Health Status
  • Allergies or sensitivities

Some dogs may eat the ibuprofen and have no symptoms. This could be the cause if they are large and only eat a small amount. Others can have mild symptoms, but they will still need to be observed.

The first thing to do if your dog ingests children's ibuprofen is to call either your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control. In the United States, you can call the latter on (888) 426-4435. They will help you assess the dog's state and guide you through any first aid treatment they may need.

If the veterinarian or helpline say you have to take them to a clinic, do so immediately. The professionals can help stabilize a dog that is in shock as a result of a drug overdose. They do so through fluid therapy and medications. They can perform a gastric lavage or induce vomiting in some cases, but only when they are treated immediately. If more than 1-2 hours has elapsed, then these treatments will not only be ineffective, but they can do more harm than good.

Learn about other medications contraindicated in dogs with our article on whether we can give anti-inflammatory medication to dogs.

Can You Give a Dog Children's Ibuprofen? - What to do if my dog eats children's ibuprofen?

How to prevent ibuprofen toxicity in dogs

Whether children's ibuprofen or those sold to adults, ibuprofen toxicity in dogs can be fatal. For this reason, we must never give it in any preparation to our dog. If we want to give any medication to our canine, we need to check with a qualified professional before doing so.

It is also very important we remove this or any similar medications from the dog's reach. Although we might think it handy to place the medication in a bowl on the coffee table, if the dog has access, they can eat it out of curiosity. Childers's ibuprofen often has flavorings to make it more palatable to kids, something that can increase the curiosity of the dog.

Learn more about drug toxicity in dogs with our article on what happens if a dog eats a 500 mg Tylenol.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Can You Give a Dog Children's Ibuprofen?, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.

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Can You Give a Dog Children's Ibuprofen?